Half a century before Marc Maron started welcoming guests to his garage and podcasts became popular, Lucille Ball hauled around a reel-to-reel tape recorder to conduct interviews with the likes of Red Skelton, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Carol Burnett and Danny Kaye for CBS Radio. Now, episodes of Let’s Talk to Lucy from 1964-65 are being made available on Apple Podcasts and SiriusXM Radio’s app.
(A handful of these 15-20 minute shows were included as bonus content with the Blu-ray release of one Here’s Lucy and The Lucy Show…but nobody seemed to notice.)
Histories of American radio will tell you that the last network shows aired from 1960 to 62. But two years later, William S. Paley’s Tiffany network gave daytime radio one last chance.
Who would dream that one of the busiest and best-loved stars of television would agree to interview friends and colleagues in Hollywood? It couldn’t have been a paycheck that motivated her; she really enjoyed the experience, which is obvious when you listen to the show. (It also gave a token job to her husband Gary Morton, who serves as announcer.)
It’s clear that Lucy is having a good time and so are her guests, who feel completely at ease. First off, most of them are in their dressing rooms instead of a broadcast studio. They know that a fellow professional would never ambush them or ask an embarrassing question. I’ve never heard Frank Sinatra so relaxed as he talks about his kids and lays out his schedule for the rest of the year. Likewise, Mary Tyler Moore feels comfortable enough to acknowledge that her son is from her first marriage and not the offspring of current husband Grant Tinker. Lucy and Mary compare notes on having kids who play drums and Lucy worries that the noise might disturb her next-door neighbor Mary (Mrs. Jack) Benny!
I’m told that eventually we’ll get to hear all 240 episodes of this little-known gem of a program. I can hardly wait.